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A fire that broke out near a fireplace forced an Amherst family out of its Harding Road home late Sunday night, the Main-Transit Fire Department reported today.

The Leonard Lang family escaped safely from its smoky house at 489 Harding Road, and firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze, which left an estimated $5,000 damage.

Firefighters responding to an 11:37 p.m. alarm arrived within four minutes and found smoke coming from the front of the 1 1/2 -story, frame home. Thirty-one Main-Transit firefighters, assisted by the Snyder Fire Department, put out the fire and removed burned debris from the house.

Fire officials said there was a smoke detector in the hallway, but it didn't have a battery.

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